10.19.2009 / Omaha has the Blues. Posting by Seth, FNBO Employee

I learned two things this past Saturday at the latest Playing with Fire concert: my 11-month old son loves barbequed ribs, and Omaha loves the blues. The series ended its summer-long run of free shows on a high note (bad pun very much intended) with four bands sharing the stage at Lewis and Clark Landing along the Missouri riverfront.

"If you missed the show, no worries! The concert series moves indoors for the winter."

Now, I’m slightly embarrassed to say that up to this point my sole experience with live blues music has consisted of listening to my dad blast out a few bars on his tenor sax in our family’s basement. A good show for sure, but nothing like a Playing with Fire event. Hey, anywhere you can eat some barbeque, wash it down with a funnel cake, AND listen to great free music, I’m instantly a fan.

A group of local acts started out the day. Mojo Bag is a band from the BluesEd youth artist development program. If you’ve never heard of the program or seen any of its artists, you have your next assignment. These kids are the bright future of Omaha blues!  Go to to read all about the program. The second local act, Little Joe & Big Trouble followed with a strong set of its own.

Anyone who wasn’t moving and grooving by the time Eddie Cotton, Jr. took the stage certainly was by the end of his performance. Eddie and his crew showed the Midwest what high-energy Mississippi blues is all about. What kind of energy did they bring? How does the drummer hurdling his trap set with a vertical leap that would make LeBron James jealous treat you? Great stuff guys!

Grammy-nominated Bettye LaVette headlined the night. No stranger to Omaha, she joked that she returned to the area only because she ran out of steak. If that’s all it takes to bring her back, I’ll be the first to pony up an annual supply of t-bones and filets. She has it all - beautiful voice, great soul, and dance moves to boot. Her career began when she recorded her first single at age 16. We got to hear that song, "My Man - He’s a Lovin’ Man", and plenty of other tracks spanning her 47-year career. Here’s hoping we see her again very soon.

If you missed the show, no worries! The concert series moves indoors for the winter. Check out the details at

Were you there? Post your comments below.

Posted at 03:07 PM | Permalink


I've been to 2 of the show this past summer and they were great! It's so nice to see events like this in Omaha that people can attend. Seth I agree with you that this last show was great! I think Edgar Winter was pretty awesome too. Thanks FNBO for supporting this great community event.
Posted by BluesFAN at 10:04 AM, Sep 18, 2009
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